Choose your clothing
The biggest challenge in getting ready for a photo session has to be choosing what to wear.
Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive. What do your dream family photos look like? If they are soft and elegant chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents. Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images. Don't forget those layers, we LOVE layers!
Lastly, stay away from any clothing with large logos, writing, or patterns that are too busy. These things are distracting to the eye and your face should always be the focal point.
- When choosing a time with a photographer, or a time to photograph your children yourself, make sure you work it around your childs nap and feeding schedules. If you try to cram a session in before nap or meal time you are setting yourself up for a cranky little one. Try and plan for photos immediately after nap time and directly after a good feeding. Well rested and well fed kids are happier and more cooperative.
- Try not to talk to your child about your upcoming session in details for days on end. While picture day can be exciting, it can also be stressful and kids can get worked up with the antipcation of a big event. Mention it once or twice so they are prepared and then leave it alone until the day of the session. When picture day rolls around, remind them that photos are fun and that it’s not a huge production that they need to be nervous about.
- Dress accordingly. Photos aren’t something we normally have done once a month on a professional level…so make sure you’re adequately prepared for this special event. Buy a new outfit, do some extra styling with your childs hair, or incorporate fun props like hats or scarves. For mom, hire a professional makeup artist or have your hair done. Picture day is not just another day…it’s something to get dolled up for!
- Be on time or come early. This will help ensure you have a few minutes for your child to get comfortable with your photographer. These few short moments are more important than you realize. This is helpful for adults as well. It’s just as important for you to have some time to connect with & get to know your photographer before jumping in front of their lens.
- Stay out of your photographers way. Let your photographer call the shots and direct your little ones. Your job as a parent & subject is to look at the camera and be ready for the moment the photographer has your little one smiling. Let your photographer take charge! Part of their ability to connect with your child comes from conversing with them…so be sure to allow your little ones to answer questions and interact during your session.
- Bring bribes & motivation. Provide incentive for your little ones to cooperate! Kids generally have a maximum cooperation time of about twenty minutes depending on age. Make the most of that time….or attempt to extend it by providing things they aren’t given every day…whether it be happy meals, treats, cash or the promise of ice cream or a small toy at the end of your session. Providing little perks along the way like snacks or candy is helpful in keeping kids motivated.
- But most of all…have fun! Natural smiles are a result of a good time. Enjoy the time spent capturing the memories and smiles of your family! The photos resulting are what you will look back on and enjoy.
Dads, please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.
That natural stuff
The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile will be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.
Have fun with your family
Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Marge at the next family reunion. Show your photographer who you really are, so that she has the opportunity to capture your love through her lens.
Sources: Tiffany, Krista Campbell, Alicia Alvey